By Esther Opaluwah
As world leaders acknowledge the links between climate change and poverty at the UNGA Post-2015 Summit, which opened in New York today, civil society leaders have called for increasing urgency to address the impacts of climate change.
Addressing a parallel event focusing on the role of faith-based actors in sustainable development, the ACT Alliance, an international humanitarian and development network said that the SDGs must steer the world onto a sustainable pathway towards poverty eradication.
“Ending extreme poverty starts with addressing climate change, as a key pillar of our moral imperative,” said ACT Alliance General Secretary John Nduna, addressing faith leaders and political dignitaries. “Mother earth weeps for climate justice. As long as we human beings abuse mother earth, ending extreme poverty will be an illusion.”
“Climate change denies people and communities the ability to overcome poverty,” he continued. “Without rain in sub-Saharan Africa, people cannot grow their food or feed their families. When streets and fields flood in Asia, communities lose their livelihoods and lives. As the sea level rises in the Pacific, people are stripped of their land and risk statelessness. Our leaders must urgently and adequately confront climate change.”
ACT Alliance has engaged in work related to climate justice and sustainable development since 2010, from community mobilisation to high level political engagement.
“While we celebrate the incredible adoption of the SDGs,” said Nduna, “we must now urgently stand together, ready, excited and motivated begin working in partnership with one another for the effective implementation of these goals.”
The negotiations towards the new global development framework continues to build momentum towards the UN climate change meeting (COP21) which will take place in Paris, France, in December.
“The ambition that we see with the adoption of the SDG framework today must translate to concrete action in Paris at COP21,” said Nduna. “Sustainable Development and poverty eradication is largely dependent on the ambition of the climate agreement to be adopted in Paris. Progress on SDGs should encourage parties to come up with a strong, fair and equitable climate agreement..”